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on hiatus

Watched a great nature documentary just after dawn yesterday morning – the local raccoons coming home after a night of mayhem. Just outside my window at 6.30, four young raccoons were cavorting in the ivy, play fighting, climbing to their perches; as the ivy branches shook, I could see little feet, tails and black mask eyes, clambering up and down. And then, at the far end of the yard, I noticed the neighbour’s raccoon family, four of them climbing around his giant maple. As the sun tinted the world pink and gold, I watched 8 raccoons settling in for their day-long sleep. Ten minutes later, all was still.

That was Saturday morning, when I was hoping to sleep in after a very intense week, and instead, was perky at dawn. The writing workshop was exhausting and utterly joyful. On our last morning, one of the students brought two bottles of Veuve Clicquot Champagne in a cooler, another strawberries and a third chocolate chip cookies. And they all brought rewrites; each one took a flying leap into a craft and truth that made us marvel. All of the writing classes had to chose one participant to read a five minute segment after our group lunch, as representative of the work done that week. Our choice was unanimous – the last 5 minutes of Mary Jane’s moving piece. I can’t do it, she said. I can’t read about my father’s funeral in front of a hundred people. So we arranged that if she really couldn’t, I would.
But when the time came, she read magnificently. And the rest of us sat at our table like parents, glistening with pride.
Came home in a daze – like after a show closes in the theatre, you’ve had this powerful rapport with a group of people and suddenly, they’re gone. I relish, cherish the thought of the solitude ahead, for my own work, and also, just to have some time without other people’s stories. I am a magnet for other people’s stories. Even at the pub afterwards, where some of us went for a celebratory drink, I ended up listening to the life stories of the poetry students. They were, of course, fascinating stories. But I am full right now. I can’t take any more.
Now it’s really summer. We’ve been so lucky – the days hot and sunny but nights and mornings fresh and breezy – perfect. It’s 7 a.m. – missed the raccoons this morning, I was already downstairs drinking coffee. Yesterday I went to my yoga class; we do a meditation at the start, lying on the floor, and I fell asleep. Later, friend Annie came over for supper in the garden, and then we went to see “The Trip,” a marvellous British movie about two comedians on the road. The two men are hilarious, the vistas of Britain are wonderful, and there’s even a message of sorts. Very enjoyable. Afterwards, we strolled down to Queen’s Park to take in a bit of Afrofest – suddenly we could have been in Addis Ababa or Port au Prince, music, drumming, a teeming crowd and faces of every colour. I love Toronto.
Suddenly in the distance, on this still morning, the angry whine of the Indy race cars, revving up for their day of screaming around the track. One kind of pest is sleeping, another, much noisier, is just waking up.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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